Due to having fewer official functions in the Qing imperial court, women's court costume is rarer than examples of men's formal court dress. A chaopao, which was worn with a piling cape, was one of three items in a woman’s chaofu, the remainder being a chaogua and a pleated underskirt.
The construction of a chaopao differs from that of a dragon robe, jifu, due to its separately-cut sleeves, which were inset into the body at the shoulders of the robe and covered by epaulettes. Additional bands were also inserted into the sleeves.
Early chaopao were not decorated with lishui wave stripes, it was not until the later part of the Qing dynasty when this motif appeared, as is present on the current example.